Psoriasis is a skin condition that usually manifests through redness, scales, dry and cracked skin.
The symptoms can occur anywhere on the body; the most common areas of flare-ups are around the elbows, knees, but also on the scalp and lower back.
In most cases, psoriasis is not anything to be alarmed about; the condition is chronic but symptoms occur and subside periodically.
If you’re suffering from this irksome skin condition, you might be wondering whether there’s a cure that can stave off psoriasis once and for all.
Unfortunately, an absolute antidote for psoriasis still hasn’t been discovered.
There is still good news, though: the symptoms of psoriasis can be minimized and kept at bay if you have an immediate plan of action for your flare-ups, but also a long-term prevention plan.
This includes learning more about the ingredients that can help (but also exacerbate the symptoms), as well as making a few changes in your diet and day-to-day habits.
If you want to find out more on how to relieve psoriasis, take a look at our list of essential tips and tricks that will help you tackle this annoying skin condition.
Avoid Skin Care Irritants
Even though the underlying causes for psoriasis are still being researched, it is widely believed that this condition is caused by changes in the immune system, which can lead to an attack on healthy skin cells.
However, flare-ups can also be caused by external factors, and they seem to peek from every corner of your immediate surroundings.
Some of the most common triggers for psoriasis can even be found in your everyday skin care.
That’s right, your trusty moisturizers or face washes are liable to contain certain irritants that can contribute to more frequent episodes of psoriasis.
Here are some of the most common skin care baddies you want to avoid if you are suffering from frequent psoriasis outbursts:
- Fragrance (perfume)
- Artificial dye
- Physical exfoliating agents (beads, nut shells, etc.)
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual to find at least one of these allergens in most skin care and makeup products that line the shelves in your local drugstore.
That’s why it’s important to ditch any products you already own that are infused with these skin-harming ingredients and start reading labels, so you can avoid involuntarily ending up with one of these irritants in your cabinet.
And whenever in doubt, you can reach for products labeled “for sensitive skin”, as they are more likely to be fragrance, paraben, and alcohol-free.
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
When your skin is suffering from occasional psoriasis flare-ups, you might start experiencing more pronounced dry patches and rough texture.
Because of this, it’s important to keep your skin hydrated to counteract on the regular.
However, not all moisturizers and body lotions are created equal, and psoriasis sufferers should be extra vigilant when choosing the right type of formula for their skin.
As mentioned before, steer clear from any products laden with alcohol, parabens, perfume and other skin-irritating ingredients.
Opt instead for gentle, yet potent nutrients that will replenish your skin with moisture without clogging it up or causing further inflammation.
To that end, look for ingredients with gentle, skin-rejuvenating ingredients such as shea butter, zinc and cucumber extract.
Prevent the initial loss of moisture in your skin by applying your creams and lotions immediately after you get out the shower, while your skin is still damp.
Don’t hesitate to apply and reapply your moisturizer throughout the day – the more hydration your skin receives, the less likely it will react with negative symptoms.
Look into Light Therapy
Phototherapy is known to be one of the best relievers for psoriasis.
This is because controlled exposure to UVB rays can be beneficial for minimizing the number of cells which cause psoriasis.
However, this doesn’t mean you run to the nearest tanning salon or bake yourself for hours in the scorching midday sun.
Light therapy should be conducted and monitored by a medical professional, so make sure to talk to your doctor before you decide whether this is the optimal treatment for your condition.
Switch Up Your Diet
Relieving symptoms of psoriasis can also be done from inside out, and every thought-out treatment of this condition starts with what you eat.
Oftentimes, unhealthy dietary choices can aggravate your skin and prompt it to react with psoriasis outbursts.
Some of the most problematic ingredients related to skin flare-ups include:
- Refined sugars
- Milk, cheese and other dairy products
- Red meat
- Processed carbs
Since these foods have the potential to cause inflammation, it’s best to reduce or completely eliminate their consumption.
Instead, focus on heart-healthy options that will not only benefit your skin condition, but also improve your immunity and overall health.
This includes whole grains, fruit and veggies (especially leafy greens), as well as foods rich in natural fats, such as nuts, seeds and fish.
Studies have shown that people who are dehydrated are more prone to experience psoriasis flare-ups, so it’s incredibly important to keep your body well-hydrated to avoid redness and swelling.
It is commonly suggested that you should drink about eight glasses of water a day. However, you can easily forget to do this, especially if you tend to have an especially busy lifestyle.
Here are some tips on how to make sure your body is replenished with H2O around the clock:
- Always place a bottle of water within an easy reach, whether that’s in your home or at the office
- Invest in a reusable bottle and make sure you never leave the house without it
- Note down your daily water intake to make sure you’ve reached your goal
With these simple tweaks in your day-to-day routines, you’ll be making first steps towards building healthy eating habits that may reflect positively on your skin as well.
Even if you do your homework regarding skin care and diet, there is still one huge trigger you have to deal with if you want to keep symptoms of psoriasis at bay: stress.
As you probably already know, stress represents one of the major triggers for flare-ups.
When the anxiety levels are high, as a defense mechanism, our body reacts by dispatching chemicals that result in inflammation of the skin.
However, with people who suffer from psoriasis, the immune system over-reacts and causes excessive production of these chemicals, resulting in psoriasis episodes.
And the worst thing is that experiencing psoriasis symptoms can stress you out further, creating a never-ending cycle.
That’s why it’s important to nip this problem in the bud by maintaining a positive outlook and keeping stress at bay.
Sometimes, this is easier said than done, especially if you’re burdened with worries caused by work, family or other factors.
When you find yourself overwhelmed by day-to-day struggles, try using your spare time to indulge in activities that make you feel happy and at peace.
For example, many people find art therapy to be especially beneficial for dealing with stress. This can mean anything from painting and sculpting to filling out a simple coloring book.
For others, exercise can be a great release for stress. When we kick our muscles into gear, out body releases endorphins, hormones that act as natural pain-relievers. Exercise also helps keep your brain more alert and your body energized, while it can also reduce insomnia and assist you in building a healthier sleep cycle.
Say No to Alcohol and Tobacco
Finding out about ingredients that can help relieve psoriasis is only half of the battle.
If you really want to establish a healthy lifestyle that will stave off the flare-ups, you need to learn what factors can actually worsen your episodes.
To begin with, alcohol can be a major culprit for your skin’s flare-ups.
Having an odd glass of wine here and there is fine, but regular consumption (more than two or three times a week) of alcoholic drinks – especially non-light beer – can certainly irritate your skin further.
Smoking is also a huge no-no if you want to relive your psoriasis symptoms. Not only will tobacco wreak havoc on your lungs and respiratory system, if will also double your chances of experiencing psoriasis flare.
This is because inhaling nicotine in cigarettes can trigger oxidative damage in your organs, causing your cells to react through inflammation.
Quitting smoking can be a tall order, especially for people who have been indulging in cigarettes for years or even decades.
The best method for ditching tobacco for good is simply to keep yourself occupied with healthier alternatives, such as healthy diet, regular exercise, but also meditation and breathing techniques.
Not only will these actions help you forget about your harmful addiction, they will also contribute to a more balanced, mindful lifestyle.
Try Natural Remedies
Sometimes, the best relief for your aggravating skin condition can be produced by none other than Mother Nature.
When it comes to skin flare-ups caused by psoriasis, there is a myriad of straight-from-nature ingredients that can do an excellent job of minimizing symptoms and soothing your irritation.
For example, oats is one of the most used foods for calming down inflamed skin. Applying oat paste to the affected areas or soaking in oat-infused bath might help reduce your symptoms.
Another potent ingredient for cooling down your skin is aloe vera, which has been used for medicinal purposes since the ancient times. The gel derived from this plant has a simultaneous soothing and hydrating effect on the skin, making it ideal for people who are battling skin flare-ups.
Turmeric, an orange-tinted root plant, contains high concentration of a substance called curcumin, which has immense anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As such, it can assist you in relieving inflammation and accelerating skin renewal.
Tea tree oil is another natural antiseptic that can be incredibly beneficial for people who are suffering from psoriasis.
Use Topical Medications
Where natural remedies won’t cut it, you might have to set off to the nearest drugstore and obtain an OTC remedy for your condition.
Common over-the-counter treatments for psoriasis include emollient such as ointments, creams and lotions which can relieve acute inflammation.
Oftentimes, these formulas are enriched with substances that have soothing, anti-inflammatory effect on the skin; among the most common ingredient are salicylic acid (gently exfoliates the skin and helps achieve smooth texture) and coal tar (helps with itchy, irritated skin and reduces the production of skin cells causing flare-ups).
If you’re not sure which type of medication is the best option for treating your condition, it might be a good idea to consult your dermatologist or other medical professional before deciding on your course of action.
Focus on Yourself
If you’ve been dealing with psoriasis your whole life, then you’re well aware how detrimental it can be to your self-image.
No one likes to wake up with their skin covered in scales and rashes; moreover, visible symptoms of psoriasis can cause awkwardness in social situations where other people aren’t aware of the nature of the disease.
This can affect the relationships at work, with your friends and acquaintances; over time, this can take a serious toll on your self-confidence.
To avoid falling into a vicious circle of being stressed over your symptoms and causing even more flare-ups as a result, try focusing on yourself and your own self-esteem.
On the days when your skin is acting up, zone in on something positive about yourself, whether that’s your hair, nails or smile.
Boost your confidence by putting on your favorite outfit or spending an extra couple of minutes creating a fierce makeup look.
When you come across people who are confused about your symptoms, try politely explaining that psoriasis is not contagious and that flare-ups come and go. Who knows, you might be surprised at the amount of positivity and understanding you will receive as a response.
Hopefully, this list of essential tips on how to deal with psoriasis will help lessen the symptoms and enable you rebuild your confidence. With a little bit of know-how and a lot of persistence, we are positive you will be able to keep this pesky skin condition under control.